The Ups And Downs Of Writing For A Living….

The good news is that I am blessed to be able to write for a living. The bad news is that I am blessed to be able to write for a living. I work during the day as a content writer for a lead generation company, making decent money, and it beats the heck out of being back in sales.

I’m also learning that it is indeed possible to have too much of a good thing, for several reasons.

1) Writing doesn’t really lend itself to an 8 hour day. It’s not like being on an assembly line making widgets, where you can quite literally put yourself in a productive trance at 8AM and snap out of it at 5. You cannot just wake up and say “I will be brilliant today”. You just never know when you are going to feel inspired, “inspired” being that magical and wondrous, but disgustingly transitory state where most of us do our best work. Yeah, I’ll get in my eight hours, and perhaps more, but in an ideal world, it wouldn’t necessarily be between punches on a clock.

2) We’re all dogfaces, we’re grunts. A lot of commercial writing isn’t exactly glamorous. I’ve been working for this company for six months, mostly on articles and content related to water damage, which is easily ten of the most boring subjects you’ll ever find. But when it comes to SEO strategy and raising your visibility in the market, you just have to come to terms with the fact that what you are writing isn’t exactly the Great American Novel.

3) Whaddaya mean, “My work?” I’m suddenly beginning to understand how Dreyfuss felt in Mr. Holland’s Opus, where a musician took a job teaching music in order to have more time to work on his own material, only to find his life so filled up that he had no time for it. When I get home after a long day of writing, the last thing I want to do is stare at a keyboard for another few hours. This makes it extraordinarily difficult to get any work done on the number of bestsellers-in-the-making that I have kicking around in my head.

4) The Rapid Devaluing Of Our Profession. I recently found an ad on CraigsList, looking for a “full time writer, to give us 3000 words of original content per day, five days a week”……for a jaw dropping $250 a month. Yes, you read that correctly. The sad part was, somebody actually took the job, and they took it for less!

As long as writers keep selling their talents out for less than what we deserve, the longer companies will continue to pay slave wages, or no wages at all, for writing work. We need to learn the power of the word “No”. If we stop accepting lousy pay, then maybe some of these companies will stick a crowbar in their wallets and cough up some cash to hire decent talent. Or does that make too much sense?

4) What Could Have Been. I guess I’m lucky in that I have a regular writing gig that pays decently. I can honestly say I’m a full time writer…..many others cannot say those words. So at the end of the day, if I have gripes, they are very gentle ones.